The recent theft of a large turboprop airliner and the ensuing crash and apparent suicide by the “pilot” got me thinking about joyriding, or in his case, joyflying and joykamikazeing. I had nothing on that dude for sure. When I was 15 years old, one of my buddies and I “borrowed” a little-old old Datsun pickup truck from his uncle’s used car lot and drove it around the west side of town like mad. It spewed out large amounts of smoke which got more copious with each passing minute (to our great delight!) until something exploded (I think it was the oil pan) and our joyride came to a smoky, shrapnel-spraying and abrupt end. Luckily for both of us, my friend’s cousin got us and the truck back to the lot, and the uncle never knew about our little excursion. Probably good for us; we also occasionally used his lot as a “chop shop” for stolen bikes and other ill-gotten booty. Fucking kids.
Joyriding is part of growing up to many people, and although most of them are harmless, often they are not. Joyriding often results in the snuffing out of young lives, many of which showed some promise. People are often intoxicated, which obviously doesn’t help things. However, whether one is wasted on something or not, some joyriders have to take that extra step, to go that extra mile, to just say “FUCK IT!!!” Anyway, here’s a little list of my favorite joyriders and others who went on vehicular rampages not related to terrorism:
1982 – Mannheim, Germany – A drunken GI stole an M60 tank and drove it through the city, crushing numerous cars and a train before driving the tank onto a bridge. He then apparently got into the gunner’s position and started to rotate the turret and move the gun up and down, further menacing the locals before managing to drive the tank into a river, where he drowned. As Mannheim was home to a U.S. military prison, had he survived, he wouldn’t have gone very far.
1984 – Nevada – While inspecting a top-secret USAF unit that flew captured Soviet and other foreign aircraft, Lieutenant General Robert Bond impulsively decided to test-fly a MiG-23 fighter. Despite urgent warnings from the pilots that had already flown it that the MiG-23 was a very tricky and quirky aircraft that required extensive orientation, General Bond essentially pulled his rank, was strapped into the jet, and took off. As the pilots had feared, the general lost control of the MiG and tried to eject when it was at supersonic speed, snapping his neck and killing him instantly. The high-profile death of such a high-ranking officer blew the cover of the outfit.
1986 – Southern California – A junior enlisted USMC aircraft mechanic “borrowed” an A-4 Skyhawk attack bomber from a military air base and flew it around for about an hour or so, performing aerobatics and generally having a good time before bringing the plane back. Amazingly enough, the joyflying jarhead got off with only several months in prison. As the pilot supposedly befriended a retired USMC general, once again, it’s good to have friends in high places.
1995 – San Diego, California – Another mad tanker strikes again! This dude, who had a Blood Alcohol Level into healthy double digits, stole an M60 tank from a military base (as if one would find fully-fueled and operational tanks anywhere else) and went on a rampage, running over and smashing anything and everything in his way. He even tried to knock down a pedestrian bridge over a freeway before giving up. After being pursued down the freeway, the drunken, Dumb-Ass Tanker (DATs, as they are called in the Army) tried to go over into the other side of the freeway, apparently hoping to smash more cars. Unfortunately for him, the tank got stuck on the wall that separated the opposing freeways, giving police the opportunity to stop him. Apparently, a cop who was also a former tanker knew how to get in the battle-locked tank, where he shot the man dead.
2004 – Granby, Colorado – My favorite one, by far…KILLDOZER!!! A small business owner who was squeezed by numerous residents and politicians, this man apparently never heard the saying, “You can’t fight City Hall.” BULLSHIT! This man very carefully and painstakingly spent a year or so crafting his revenge, which eventually arrived in the form of a large bulldozer that he converted into a tank. This contraption was armed and heavily armored with concrete and steel and would have needed a Hellfire missile or two to take it out. The perpetrator was clearly on a suicide mission, as he literally welded himself inside. After destroying numerous buildings and winning a duel with a scraper, his rampage literally ran out of steam when the Killdozer’s engine overheated and seized. Police surrounding the Killdozer heard a muffled gunshot inside, which was the man killing himself. Supposedly it took a day or two to retrieve his body, as the cops wisely expected booby traps.